This is my 400th blog post. Along my blogging path, I’ve written a lot, and I think become a better writer. That said, there are certain lines I’m still not sure about how to tread. For example, that of privacy. As a friend of mine recently pointed out, most blog-readers want to see me put my life on the line, not my Self on the line. Another is content. What can Grandma and my college friends read and enjoy alike? And a final is personal: what separates DanielRyanAdler.com from Daniel Ryan Adler?
Firstly, this blog only became a travel blog recently, so I’ll satisfy some cravings by posting a paragraph about a woman I met this morning over lunch, in Dharamshala, India, where I remain.
Shira invited me to Munchies for lunch. I’ve eaten there every day for the past four. I ordered eggplant moussaka, for 95 rupees, or less than $2, and enjoyed it very much. About halfway through our meal a blonde girl I’d seen before with bandages over her nose came in and sat across from us, talking to the girl who’d belly danced with fire at the Rainbow Gathering the other night. Soon she started to cry and the belly dancing girl hugged her and kneeled to put her weight on the blonde girl’s shoulders, to give her a more substantive hug. Junko, Shira and I kept talking to each other until the belly dancer finished her meal and left the blonde girl alone. Then I asked her where she was from, because I knew she was American. California. Shira asked her how she broke her nose. Sure enough, she was punched in the face by her ex-boyfriend a few days ago. They had been trying to fall asleep when she decided to smoke a cigarette. The sound of the lighter infuriated her boyfriend, who came onto the deck aggressively. They are both high energy people, so his movement must have startled her, and whether he touched her first or she touched him was unclear. They started fighting, so they both had bloody noses. She tried to get him to stop after the first two rounds. He wouldn’t. In the third and final round, he punched her in the face and broke her nose.
Her name is Sunshine Walker and this isn’t the only time she’s had a lot of facial pain. Two years ago she went to Thailand and got beat up at a Full Moon Party, where a group of Thai men went around attacking women. It seems she attracts violence. She’d needed to go to Mexico to get a new set of teeth.
It was clear despite her seated position that she was a large woman. She told us she’d long ago used to street fight. She’d put those days behind her. Except she and her boyfriend had had a bout of aggressive physicality the day before they left for India together, just some shoving. When she told her dad, who has 93 counts of domestic abuse against him, he knew it would only get worse. She was afraid to tell him about the broken nose, fearing the I-told-you-so, but it never came. She and her father are best friends. Their relationship really improved when he told her he was addicted to meth. That knowledge, his honesty, really helped her deal with her aunt’s meth addiction and with taking care of her cousins. And everything she’s been through really makes her stronger. She doesn’t regret anything, wouldn’t change anything if she could, because that would mean she’d be a different person.
I can’t say I’ve had anything as intense happen to me lately. Today I woke up to watch the clouds just perceptibly moving over the green-backed mountain. You can see each individual evergreen if you take the time. There are rock fields with boskage and moss growing over them, spilling down the slope. Close, the leaves and new branches on the trees move in a breeze. These flimsy branches are less than a season old, they’ve grown from the fast, heavy rains that wash the land in the afternoon, leaving the foliage heavy and lush. Birds twitter in the surrounding trees, crows caw, and there are ladybugs and the occasional butterfly floating through the air. The antennae towers, red and white in the distance, stand at attention against the blue high sky of mid-spring. They have nothing to say. The sounds of construction– hammering and the occasional stop and start of an electric saw– rise over the sound of an individual bird, coming close to drowning it out. But with a resilience that is surprising, as though it will not be shushed, as though orating to a group on an important subject, the bird continues its speech until the hammering stops. The day was still new enough to do any number of things– in the sun there was incredible potential. For growth, for action, for rain, or death. Any of these things were possible, the industry and motion of the world suggesting a deeper inaction under the surface.
I’m still learning. The blog is an art form that is still evolving. On one hand, it requires the intimacy of a novel, but it shuns the seriousness. Since this is now a travel blog, my audience expects me to write about travel; I ought to meet their expectations. Deceiving expectations at this point, when the blog is still arguably not an art form, and only a medium– much like the newspaper in its early days, for conveying a perspective– is purposeless and unfair to my readers. So here’s what I promise. My blog will be incomplete, biased, and personal. It won’t, nor should it, accurately portray reality. It will give you a glimpse into how I see the world. And when you, dedicated reader, grow antsy– be patient. Remember there’s no way in the world I could fit all my Daniel Ryan Adler into DanielRyanAdler.com. For the rest, well– you’ll just have to wait.